track and field
inducted October 2, 2008
Not many athletes can say that they hopped, skipped and jumped their way into the record books. Columbia track star George Shaw did just that.
A 1953 Columbia graduate, Shaw was the last Lion track and field student-athlete to win an NCAA title, as he took home the 1952 triple jump championship. The NCAA title was just the icing on a cake of his brilliant collegiate career; Shaw broke multiple Columbia records that stood for almost five decades.
He was the Ivy League Heptagonal champion in the indoor long jump in 1953. He set multiple Heptagonal and Columbia records in his career, and still ranks among Columbia’s best in triple jump (second-best indoors) and long jump (best indoors, second-best outdoors).
Shaw held the triple jump record for 47 years (50’5.5”) before Cie-Jay Brown broke it in 1999, with a jump of 51’03”. He also set the school long jump record in 1952 (23’11”), breaking a record that had stood for 13 years.
Shaw also competed in the 55-meter dash indoors, and holds the record for indoor long jump, at 24’2.75”. In 1953, he was crowned the AAU champion in triple jump. He competed in triple jump in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics, but the closest he came to a medal was 12th place. To this day, Shaw remains the only Columbia track and field athlete to compete in two Olympic Games.
An executive in adverising and marketing after he ended his track and field career, Shaw passed away in 1988 when he died after suffering a heart attack while jogging near his home at Van Cortlandt Park.